CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s economic hub of Gauteng is expected to take a huge knock when thousands of Cosatu members down tools and embark on a national strike tomorrow.
The planned national shutdown by the labour federation was against the scourge of corruption and the capture of key state institutions by rogue elements in close proximity to the ruling elite.
Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the country was struggling with a 38% unemployment rate and about 10 million people who were without jobs, while more than 17 million were on social welfare.
“This is happening while South Africa is losing roughly R147 billion a year from the money illegally taken out of the country,” he said.
Gauteng was viewed as one of the provinces that would be hit the hardest by the Cosatu strike. According to the provincial treasury, the province dominated the country’s economy, accounting for more than 40% of manufacturing, 33% of electricity and gas production and water output. The province’s construction sector accounted for more than 43%, while the wholesale and retail trade stood at over 35%.
The national strike follows Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s recent remarks that corruption cost the gross domestic product at least R27bn annually as well as the loss of 76000 jobs that would otherwise have been created.
Recent data released by Statistics South Africa showed that more than 30 million South Africans were languishing in poverty.
Pamla said while the statistics painted a gloomy picture, the controversial Gupta family, who are President Jacob Zuma’s personal friends, had “managed to steal more than R10bn from the country”.
A trove of leaked e-mails dubbed #GuptaLeaks reveal serious corruption allegations against the immigrant Indian family, who are also accused of having undue influence in the appointment of cabinet ministers.
Cosatu said that more than 900000 public servants did not have houses and what made this possible was “the fact that our government has been captured. Our government has adopted policies that benefit the private sector and the tiny elite”.
Pamla lashed out at the state capture phenomenon for destroying public trust in the state organs and eroding revenue collection.
“The majority of South Africans bear the brunt of corruption and state capture. If state capture is allowed to continue, it will not be possible to achieve the transformative objectives of the state that serve to improve the socio-economic predicament of the poor and working class,” he said.
Picture: COSATU National Strike against state capture and corruption in South Africa. The strike is in terms of Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act. (Supplied).
In Gauteng, Cosatu leaders are expected to hand over memorandums to the City of Joburg, Department of Labour, Chamber of Mines, Premier David Makhura’s office, and to the banking institutions.
Cosatu Gauteng chairperson Dumisani Dakile said all industries, including farming, retail, banks and government services, would be affected by the planned strike tomorrow.
He told Business Report that employers who threatened to discipline workers who took part in the strike would be “dealt with” as the strike was protected.
Cosatu was expected to hold a media briefing today to communicate further details of the shutdown.